There are also a number of scenic watering holes in these mountain areas now open to the public.
Dragon Rejoice Ravine (Longqingxia)
Dragon Rejoice Ravine has been a local attraction since the Song Dynasty. Emperor Renzong of the Yuan Dynasty was born south of here. When he ascended the throne, he named the county Longqing Prefecture to commemorate his birthplace.
About 85 kilometers north of Beijing proper, this recreational site is part of a large reservoir on the Gucheng River. The dam was built in 1981.
There is good skating in the winter, as well as lanterns and sculptures to enjoy. Boats are available the rest of the year for tourists to view the natural scenes of the valley, which are inaccessible by other modes of travel.
Some say the scenery can be compared to Lijiang in Guilin and the Three Gorges of the Yangtze River.
There is a temple built in 1639 along the water’s edge. At one time there were images of ht founders of Confucianism, Buddhism and Daoism there.
Beside is a famous pond, the bottom of which can be seen through clear water over one meter deep. There are nine old cypress trees on the cliff behind, one called the “magic king of trees” with its trunk extending way beyond the edge of the cliff.
The only way to the ravine is by boat along the reservoir at the present time. It is possible to rent a tent and stay at the foot of the hill overnight. The next morning you can hike to Songshan Forest Park for a change of scene.
White Dragon Pond (Bailongtan)
White Dragon Pond is the only old scenic spot on the eastern outskirts of Beijing. The name came from the undulating mountains, dense forests, streams and valleys. There is a waterfall near Xiawanzi Village, over 20 meters high, one of three that form three ponds. During the rainy weather in spring and summer, white clouds over splashing waterfalls appear to be a white dragon playing in the mist, hence its name White Dragon Pond.
According to historical records, there were once four halls and 18 pavilions in this vicinity. Examples of classical architecture are: Dragon Fountain Temple (Longquansi), Hall of Bodhisattva (Pushadian), Five-Dragon Shrine (Wulongsi) and Imperial Lodge (Xinggongxiasi).
“Bailongtan Holiday Village” includes guesthouses a recreation area, stone forest, climbing and hunting area and conference facilities.
Dragon’s Gate Ravine (Longmenxia)
Dragon’s Gate Ravine, in the Mentougou District of Beijing, is the site of two gorges through which run tributaries of the Qingshui River. Dragon Pool Waterfall is a meter-wide curtain dropping six meters to the pool below. High humidity and shaded walls in the narrow ravine ensure low temperatures even in the summer.
Black Dragon Pond (Heilongtan)
Black Dragon Pond in the Haidian District is listed a cultural site under the state protection. The pond built during drought years in the Qing Dynasty make a pleasant day trip.